Hi guys! I hope you’re all having a great March so far. As promised, I’m splitting my wrap up’s into two posts from now on, to keep them from getting too long. The first part of March has been amazing for me reading-wise. I’ve read 7 novels and one short story. I listened to two of the novels on audio and one was a re-read. But the really amazing thing about March is that every single thing I’ve read so far has been either a 5 or a 4 star read. Hopefully I’ll keep this streak going throughout March. My current read, A Tale for the Time Being, is definitley looking like another 5-star book so far – so I’m pretty hopeful. But let’s look at what I’ve already finished:
Opal by Maggie Stiefvater 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟
This is only a short story, but it’s my favorite thing I read this month, so I couldn’t not include it. I wasn’t excepting to love it as much as I did. Maybe I’ve underestimated my love for The Raven Cycle, because I was not prepared for how wonderful it would feel to be back in this world – if only for a little while. I don’t know what it is about Maggie Stiefvater’s writing that speaks to me on such an emotional level, but I’m in love with the slightly eerie, dreamlike atmosphere she creates. It feels like home somehow. Having Opal narrate the story only adds to that otherworldly vibe and makes this such a treat to read. I want a whole book for her point of view now, she’s my new favorite character.
Glitter by Aprilynne Pike 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟
At the glittering court of Versailles the people dress, eat and act like its the 18th century – even as they enjoy the most advanced, cutting edge technology. Outside the palace walls, it’s modern day. When Danica becomes the witness of a murder, committed by the young king himself, her mother takes advantage of the situation and blackmails him into marrying Danica. To escape her faith and palace turned prison, Danica need 5 million euros. Money she’ll earn by selling Glitter, a new drug so potent a sprinkle mixed into a pot of rouge or lip gloss will make the wearer addicted. I’ve seen almost exclusively negative reviews for this book and the most common criticism are 1. The main character is a terrible person and 2. The plot/world is ridiculous. Both are valid points, but neither ruined this book for me. Do I find it realistic that people would actually live secluded in a pocket state where they play the world’s most elaborate game of dress up and have servant bots to lace up their corsets? Of course not. Did I have fun reading about it? Oh yes. This book was a fast-paced, twisty ride and I loved every ridiculous, delicious second of it.
Weetzie Bat by Francesca Lia Block 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟
The first time I read this book I must’ve been about 8 or 9, I clearly remember seeing it on a random shelf at the library and being drawn to it by the strange title. For a girl raised on Astrid Lindgren and Roald Dahl (who are both amazing) this book was like an explosion of neon pink fireworks in my mind. It kind of rocked my world. So I know I have my heart-shaped rose tinted glasses on when I reread it, but even through a daze of nostalgia I can see some problems with it now that I didn’t as a child. One in particular being Weetzie’s casual cultural appropriation, dressing up in moccasins and a feathered headdress and proclaiming she’s “into Indians”. But being not only white, but from a completely different country and culture, I don’t feel it’s my place to discuss that. I honestly don’t know what would’ve been considered okay in the U.S in 1989, so I’m just pointing out what I’m seeing.
Asking for it by Louise O’Neill 🌟🌟🌟🌟
Emma O’Donovan beautiful and popular, one of the queen bees of her small Irish town. Then she wakes up the morning after a party, on the front porch of her house. She doesn’t know what happened, but everyone else does, they’ve all seen the photographs. I’ve never read a book that’s made me feel upset, angry, frustrated, sad and tired all at once before, but this one did. Not because what happens in it is new to me, but because it isn’t. Because this happens all the time. Because girls go through this all the time. Girls are put through this all time. But let’s try to focus on the book. Louise O’Neill is an amazing writer, her writing style is beautiful, but with sharp edges. I love that she had the guts to show us the worst of Emma, she’s jealous, vain, petty and mean. In the media you’ll hear some rape-survivors described as ‘the perfect victim’, as if such a thing exists. This book feels like a big fuck you to that and to rape culture in general.
The Wall of Winnipeg and Me by Mariana Zapata 🌟🌟🌟🌟
Vanessa knows she’s doing the right thing, quitting her job as an assistant to the top defensive end in the National Football Organization, Aiden Graves. She has dreams of her own and honestly, she doesn’t think he’ll care. So when he shows up at her door wanting her to come back, she’s beyond shocked. I picked this up this book based solely on LaRonda’s recommendation and I’m so glad I did, cause it was amazing. The characters Vanessa and Aiden are so well drawn, I felt like I really knew them and wanted them to find their happy ending. I’ve heard that Mariana Zapata is the queen of the slow burn – but I wasn’t expecting the burn to be that slow. The reader gets to see every little moment of the characters journey and watch as their relationship slowly evolves, which is what I’ll expect from every romance novel from now on.
Akata Warrior by Nnedi Okorafor 🌟🌟🌟🌟
Akata Warrior is the sequel to Akata Witch, so there might be some mild spoilers for the first book here.
A year ago, Sunny Nwazue, an American-born Nigerian girl, was inducted into the secret Leopard Society and she and her friends formed a coven to defeat a magical serial killer. In this book Sunny and her friends are counting their magical training, but soon new dangers threaten and a new adventure awaits. Akata Witch was one of my favorite reads of 2017 and being back in Sunny’s world was so exciting, there’s still so much left to discover about Leopard Society. I also really enjoyed getting to know Sunny’s brothers better and seeing their relationship explored. While I loved the world and the characters, I had some issued with the plot. It just sort of meanders along and while the journey’s interesting and the sights spectacular – I wanted to feel a little more urgency and direction.
Before We Were Strangers by Renee Carlino 🌟🌟🌟🌟
Matt and Grace met in college. They had an intense relationship which fell apart when Matt left for South-America to work for National Geographic, but they never stopped thinking about each other. 15 years later Matt’s back in New York and one day he spots Grace getting on a train, just moments too late to say hello. So he posts a lost connection on Craigslist. This book’s split into three main pars: Before they reconnect, when they first met and after they reconnect. The second part was my favorite, I loved Matt and Grace in college and their romance was really sweet and sexy. But a lot of things that are revealed in the third part really strained my ability to suspend disbelief. I don’t want to go into spoiler territory, but I think the way Matt reacted to the things that were revealed was very immature and selfish, but it wasn’t portrayed that way in the narrative. Another thing that bothered me is the way women are portrayed in this book. They’re all compared to the heroine, who’s sweet, pure and virginal, and found wanting – often reduced to bitches or sluts. Matt isn’t even capable of meeting Grace’s best friend without offering this through his internal monologue: “though pretty in general, she looked plain standing next to Grace”. Ok, Matt. No one asked you. I’m being salty, but overall I really did enjoy this story. There’s even a The National reference in there, which is always a plus in my book.
Falling Kingdoms by Morgan Rhodes and Michelle Rowen 🌟🌟🌟🌟
In the three kingdoms of Mytica a deadly unrest simmers below the surface. As the rulers of each kingdom grapple for power four key players: the princess Cleo, the rebel Jonas, the sorceress Lucia and the prince Magnus find their fates intertwined. I wasn’t planning on reading this book, I was just going to listen to a few minutes of the audiobook, but I was so taken in by the mystery of the prologue I couldn’t stop. I think this is a very solid YA fantasy novel, well-paced and plotted. I really enjoyed reading about the mythology of the world and seeing how that connected with the story. With multiple POV’s there’s always going to be some you enjoy more than others, but none of the POV’s in this book were unnecessary or boring. I wish there’d been a little more complexity in the characterization and world-building, but that can still happen in the later books. One thing that often irks me in YA fantasy is the way every country is presented as being just one thing: Auranos is green and lush, Paelsia is dry and desert-like and Limeros is cold and covered in snow. This problem isn’t exclusive to this novel and I wouldn’t even mention it if it wasn’t something I’ve seen so many times before. I understand the intention of making the different places easy to separate and keep track of for the reader, but a little more geographical diversity would go a long way in making this world seem more real to me.
I’d love to know what you guys are currently reading! Is March shaping up to be a good reading-month so far?